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Help us to find the half a million people with undiagnosed coeliac disease

2 February 2017

Following successful piloting of our model for the early recognition of coeliac disease in community pharmacy, as part of Coeliac UK’s Awareness Week 2017, we will be encouraging community pharmacies to join us in our mission to find the estimated half a million people in the UK with undiagnosed coeliac disease.

Coeliac disease has a broad range of symptoms synonymous with many minor ailments, and they affect different people in different ways, so identifying people for testing can be tricky. However, we’ve found community pharmacy to be an ideal place for identifying those at risk of coeliac disease during our proof of concept study completed in 2015. Customers accessing over the counter or prescription medications for IBS or iron, vitamin B12 or folate deficiencies, were provided with an information leaflet on coeliac disease and offered a finger prick point of care test. Over 550 customers were tested across 15 pharmacies and almost 10% were referred to their GP for further testing. Compared with 1% prevalence of coeliac disease in the general population, this targeted case finding approach has proven to be highly effective.

So during Awareness Week 8 – 14 May 2017 we’ll be asking community pharmacies across the UK to help us to identify those at risk of coeliac disease by using our case finding model. We’ll also be asking community pharmacies to provide these customers with an information leaflet about coeliac disease and to signpost those who’ve not been tested before to their GP.

If you work in a community pharmacy, and would like to participate please get in contact with us on campaigns@coeliac.org.uk. If you would like further information on our proof of concept study, Early recognition of coeliac disease through community pharmacies, please visit the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

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